‘Mushy Gushy’ is Chapel’s first single since 2019’s ‘Friends’ which won support from the likes of Billboard and … what a track it is. The Atlanta pair, Hardin and Grinwis, recorded the track alongside multi-platinum producers, Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount, in a studio in the suburbs of the city.
‘Mushy Gushy’ “celebrates the honeymoon phase of a new relationship”, as explained by Carter Hardin, the half that is behind the duo’s lyricism. The duo released a music video alongside the single which was ambitiously made during the lockdown in collaboration with animator and director, Peter Ferris Rosati. This paradigm of colour explores “the honeymoon phase” in the context of a budding friendship and is more proof that the lockdown can be the perfect breeding ground for an exciting new turn in music.
CUB writer Ruben was fortunately invited to interview one of half the duo, Carter Hardin. Enjoy the conversation below.
Ruben: We’ll start with a gentle one… how are you both doing today and how have you been coping with the tumultuous events of 2020?
Carter: 2020 has been insane for everyone. It genuinely feels like a movie. Although all these things are happening, we are doing great!
R: How did you meet and form Chapel?
C: We’ve known each other from past projects. I didn’t really think about reaching out to Kortney till after I wrote our first song ‘Caught Up’. I needed someone to slay the drums, so I gave her a call & a week later she flew down to track drums for the song. She, of course, nailed it & it became very obvious to both of us that it should just be us two as a duo. The rest is kind of history. Regarding the name we just thought it sounded cool, so we went with it.
R: I’m an artist myself and I’ve found myself thinking a lot about how my location influences my art. Has your area influenced the music you make?
C: I agree location can be very influential. What I found though, for me, is that it’s the room I’m in that actually influences me the most. That room for me is my bedroom. I’m surrounded by everything that got me to where I’m at in my life by producing in my room. It’s a great way to be reflective.
R: I imagine there are a lot of young artists that look up to you as a rising synth-pop act. Is there any advice you would give to aspiring musicians wanting to break into the industry?
C: My advice is just to keep writing songs, and get into producing.
R: What does the lockdown creative process look like?
C: It’s actually been awesome! We are writing every day. Since we already have an album turned in, we don’t feel a pressure to write. What’s crazy is that the lack of pressure has made it easier on us to just write freely, and songs have just been pouring out.
R: If you could design your own chapel based on one of your previous releases, what would it look like and what would you call it?
C: If I did it based on ‘Sunday Brunch’ then the whole chapel would be filled with oversized breakfast items. It would have a dreamy feel similar to Katy Perry’s ‘California Girls’ music video. We would call it ‘IHOP’ because we can.
R: You seem to use the theme of food a lot in your releases. What would be on Chapel’s menu if you owned a restaurant?
C: Tacos & Mimosas. Just those two. lol
R: Congrats on your brilliant new release ‘Mushy Gushy’ (we can’t stop listening to it)! The music video, as with a lot of your other releases, is really bright and fun. To what extent would you consider your art surrealist?
C: Thanks!! I think you can say sonically we have some production that incorporates some juxtaposition as well as some of our single/album art.
R: The band name Chapel makes me think of the more sombre emotions and juxtaposes the type of music you make. Is there a deep-rooted vulnerable side to Chapel?
C: I think with all of our music we are being vulnerable. The lighthearted ones as well, cause even then it’s still an extension of yourself you’re putting out into the world. If you look at some of our songs like ‘Friends’ or ‘We’ve Got Soul’, we explore those vulnerable themes. With the new album, we do it a lot more for sure.
R: Your music focuses primarily on the experience of being young and innocent. How do you think Chapel will adapt to growing older and the maturity in love that comes with it?
C: Each song for ours is a snapshot of where we were at during the time of writing it. All the songs on ‘Sunday Brunch’ for instance lean into the journey of being young and dealing with the changes happening in your early twenties. The reason we wrote these kinds of songs is cause that’s what me & Kortney were going through. With the new album, I feel like we are exploring more mature themes than our last EP for sure.
R: What role did music play in your upbringing?
C: Oh it was like everywhere in my life when I was a child. My dad would always throw on records from artists like Barry White to Frankie Valli, and those records really led me to fall in love with music at an early age. Music became everything to me.
R: It feels like your music is mainly a more modern take on 80s synth-pop. What/who are your favourite (synth-pop) albums/artists?
C: I love synth pop & I’m just a lover of synths in general. I would say some of my more recent favourite synth-pop artists are St Lucia, Fickle Friends, CHVRCHES, and MUNA.
R: If you could collaborate with anyone from the past or the present, who would it be?
C: For me, it would 100% be ‘Will.i.am’. I’ve always loved his approach to songwriting & his ear for hooks. I just think his brain in a CHAPEL song would be so interesting.
R: What have you been doing to pass the time over the past couple of months? Any new music being written?
C: I think all we have been doing during quarantine is writing. Isolation has really pushed us creatively in a lot of new ways. Although we have an album locked and ready to go, all these new songs we’ve pumped out during quarantine I’m really stoked on as well.
R: And finally, do you have anything that you’d like the readers of CUB Magazine to know?
C: Yes! If you’ve haven’t already, check out our latest single ‘Mushy Gushy’!
You heard the man! Listen to ‘Mushy Gushy’ on all good streaming platforms, now.